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10 Orange Tabby Cat Facts

Est. read time: 6 min.

Is it true that all orange cats have an insatiable desire for lasagna? Sadly, no. And do they all hate Mondays? Probably, but there is no conclusive evidence that these types of cat hate Mondays more than any other day of the week. If you’re curious about orange tabby cat facts, we’ve compiled a few below.

1. Only about 1 in 5 orange tabby cats is female

Scientists and researchers are fairly certain that orange tabbies’ color transpires from sex-linked cat genetics, with the X chromosome responsible for the orange coloring. Because females possess two Xs and males possess XY, male cats only need the orange gene from their mothers to become a ginger—making them much more likely to carry on the trait.

orange tabby cat outside

2. Orange tabbies are not a breed

Many people, even cat lovers, don’t know that “tabby” refers to specific coat markings, not a specific breed (and regardless of orange fur color). The word itself is taken from a striped silk fabric made near Baghdad. Tabby cats are striped due to the agouti gene. All orange cats are tabbies, but not all tabbies are orange.

3. They have four different patterns—and none of them is solid orange

One of our favorite orange tabby cat fun facts is that, because all tabby cats carry the agouti gene, there has never been and never will be a solid orange female cat. There are four unique tabby patterns, including:

  • Mackerel tabby (striped), which makes the kitty look like a tiger, with an “M” shape appearing on the forehead.
  • Classic tabby (swirled, blotched, or marbled), which gives the kitty a tie-dyed look. 
  • Ticked tabby (stripeless), which breaks up the tabby patterning into a “salt-and-pepper” or “sand” appearance; the Abyssinian cat is a ticked orange tabby.
  • Spotted tabby, which breaks up the tabby markings so the stripes or swirls appear as spots; the Bengal cat is a spotted orange tabby.

4. A specific pigment is responsible for their color

You’ve probably noticed a variation in felines’ ginger-colored hues, from reddish-orange to yellowish-cream. The Purrington Post explains that these ginger cats have a predominance of a certain pigment known as pheomelanin—the same pigment that produces red hair in humans. This pigment affects a cat’s coat color and plays a crucial role in making orange tabbies so unique.    

Maine Coon orange tabby cat

5. Big personalities come in small packages

Cat personalities can significantly vary depending on their breed and early upbringing. Although we just learned that orange tabbies aren’t a breed, pet parents of orange tabbies agree that they exude larger-than-life personalities. 

These cats are generally known for being outgoing, affectionate, and super friendly. They're not just lap cats, but also social butterflies that love to interact with their human families and even strangers. They're often the life of the party, turning even the simplest activities into grand adventures. 

But remember, every cat is an individual, and while these traits are common, your orange tabby might have their own unique quirks!

6. Being eccentric is the standard

So, why do orange tabbies sometimes seem a little... crazy? Well, that's just their high-energy and playful nature showing through!. 

These cats have a zest for life that's hard to match. They're curious and love to explore their surroundings, often leading to hilarious and unexpected antics. Whether they're zooming around the house at top speed, pouncing on invisible prey, or just causing a bit of harmless chaos, it's all part of the orange tabby charm. 

Don't worry, though—even with their wild side and bizarre cat behavior, they're still incredibly lovable and make wonderful companions. After all, what cat parent doesn't enjoy a little bit of crazy cat fun?

7. Ginger fur is more likely to be found in certain cat breeds

The orange tabby color is commonly found in certain cat breeds, including the Persian, Munchkin, American Bobtail, British Shorthair, Bengal, Maine Coon, Abyssinian, and Egyptian Mau cats.

orange tabby Persian cat

8. They tend to develop black freckles

Black freckles on an already adorable orange kitty? It’s like sprinkles on top of the icing! These freckles will develop along the tabby’s face, notably around the gums, lips, or nose. They’re usually harmless, but any change in pigmentation should be checked out by your veterinarian.

9. They’re “legendary”

Of all the orange tabby cat facts on our list, this one is somehow the most and least debatable. Let’s start with the verifiable, which is that Winston Churchill was well known for his love of orange cats: Earlier in life he owned one named Tango, and later in life one named Jock. Then there’s the common legend that orange tabbies bear the “M” mark on their foreheads because one curled up with the baby Jesus, helped him fall asleep, and was blessed by Mother Mary’s touch for doing so.

10. Orange tabby cats get a lot of screen time

This goes way beyond Garfield, people. Some of our favorite orange tabbies to grace the silver screen and TV include Crookshanks (from Harry Potter), Milo (from Milo and Otis), Jones (from Alien), Orangey (from Breakfast at Tiffany’s), Puss in Boots (from Shrek 2), Spot (from Star Trek: The Next Generation), and Orion (from Men in Black). P.S. Check out our list of 15 movies to watch with your cat right meow.

A note on orange tabby male cats

The overrepresentation of males among orange tabbies isn't just an interesting factoid — it also has implications for their health. You see, male cats, especially the boy sporting bright orange coat patterns, are more prone to experiencing certain health issues.

For example, urinary tract problems are a biggie. Male cats have narrower urethras, which can make them more susceptible to urinary blockages. These blockages are not only terribly uncomfortable, but they can also be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

Then there's the issue of obesity. These orange males are well known for their love of both humans and cat food, so they can easily become overweight if their diet isn’t closely monitored. This can lead to a host of other health problems, including diabetes and joint issues.

And let's not forget about genetic disorders. Hemophilia B, a blood clotting disorder, is more common in male cats. While it's not specific to orange tabbies, the fact that there are more male orange tabbies means they're more at risk.

But don't let these potential health problems scare you. With regular vet check-ups and a healthy lifestyle, our orange tabby boys can live long, happy, and healthy lives. After all, they've got a lot of lounging, playing, purring, cuddling, and—let's be honest—eating to do!

orange tabby cat using Litter-Robot 4

If you're a happy cat parent of a beautiful orange tabby, never scoop cat poop again with a self-cleaning litter box.